Remember those high hopes we had for Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic version of The Great Gatsby? Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan were cast as Gatsby and Daisy, Jay-Z’s soundtrack was brilliant, and the trailer was absolutely glittering.
As it happens, the film wasn’t half as good as the two-minute trailer. So it goes.
Either way, my friends and I were excited by the pre-Gatsby buildup, and we planned a Jazz Age party for the movie release. Please don’t give me that “you’re-totally-missing-the-point-of-the-book”; the author is dead, darlings, and even if the parties drowning in gold, jazz, and flappers were extravagant shows of the emptiness of life, I was more interested in the aesthetic of the 1920s than the moralism of The Great Gatsby anyway.
The truth is, I’m fascinated by the Jazz Age. I’m a materialist in every sense of the word: I’m aware of the economic and material transformation of the 1920s, and I’m especially interested in the changes occurring within social classes. I seem to have been born with a mission to overthrow (read: resent) Old Money. But I’m also consumed with materialism–I love the idea of more, proliferation, larger than life, not gilded but gold, things. It’s contradictory, I know. But I am large. I contain multitudes. I am Walt Whitman.
Either way, it’s a paradox that fits quite well in the ethos of the 1920s, so I plan to participate in the Jazz Age January challenge, in which I’ll be blogging about different literary works from the Roarin’ 20s.
I only learned about the Jazz Age January Challenge today, but I’m determined to make it great. In honor of Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday, I’ll begin with her works this week, and we’ll see about the rest of the month. You think F. Scott Fitzgerald kept an itinerary? Ha! (Actually, I have no idea.)